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College of Arts & Sciences


College of Arts & Sciences
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ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

The subject of this class is the legal and regulatory framework that has developed around the protection of various aspects of the environment over the past thirty years. The court cases analyzed will provide undergraduate and graduate students with a legal understanding of the processes through which modern societies attempt to cope with environmental and natural resource problems. The primary focus is on American politics, but a limited number of topics relating to international environmental law are also explored. Generally, this course is designed to provide students with an overview of the legal system and procedures relating to environmental laws, rules, programs and regulations. Specifically, this seminar will cover the following: National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation Recovery and Control Act (RCRA), Superfund (CERCLA), Toxic Substance Control Act, Clean Air Amendments, and Food Quality Protection Act. Although this course is concerned with the aforementioned general statutory laws, particular attention is given to the resulting administrative rules and court decisions implemented in various settings to specifically protect the environment or remedy environmental degradation. That is, in the process of looking at the original legislation developed, this course will address: (1) the underlying kinds of resource and consumption problems that have resulted in environmental pollution or deterioration; (2) the political context in which environmental policies have been formulated; (3) the regulatory approaches which have emerged from various objectives, (4) the administrative procedures required by law or judicial decision to deal with various problems; and (5) the dynamic interests at play in arenas where these policies are made and implemented. In addition to exploring the governmental pattern to control the use of resources and address the resulting pollution, this class will discuss the scientific background necessary for understanding each law of environmental protection and resource management.

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